Two construction workers lost their lives in a crane accident while they were working on a construction site in Briarwood, Queens on Tuesday, November 22nd. According to the Department of Buildings commissioner, Rick D. Chandler, the most probable cause of the accident was equipment failure, specifically a malfunction of the rig.
George Smith, age 47, of Brooklyn, who worked as a crane operator, was lifting a 6,500-lb beam four stories up at approximately 12:20 p.m. when it became separated from the crane, and hit Alessandro Ramos of Queens. Mr. Ramos died from the impact. He was 43 years old.
Then, the crane descended on the cab when Mr. Smith was inside, and resulted in his death. Mr. Ramos was employed as a flag person at the construction site, which was located at 81-10 134th Street in Briarwood. The project seemed to be part of a seven-story residential development. A flag person usually supervises the flow of traffic on a construction site.
Commissioner Chandler said that there are some ways in which the rig could have failed. Last year, Crane Express, the company that owns the crane that was involved in the accident was examined by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company received a citation for failure to ensure ground preparations for one of its cranes in Cliffside Park, N.J. According to records from OSHA, the company paid a fine in the amount of $3,500, and the case was closed on March 1st.
The last time the crane passed inspection was in June, and there was no master rigger on the site. Commissioner Chandler said there is no requirement that a master rigger be present. He also said that wind does not seem to have been a significant contributing factor in causing the accident.
A resident of a building overlooking the construction site expressed concern for his own safety. His neighbor also echoed his feelings, stating that the crane is too near to her window, and that she is frequently fearful. An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the accident.
If you were injured on a construction site, or someone you know suffered an injury or death on a site, call the personal injury attorneys at Proner and Proner.
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